The Marvin Fieldhouse, originally called the Beloit College Fieldhouse, was dedicated in late 1947 at halftime of a men’s basketball game between Beloit and Lawrence. The former Army airplane hangar quickly became a showplace for athletic events as well as large gatherings such as commencements, dances, dinners, concerts and shows, and large meetings.
That halftime dedication ceremony, on Dec. 6, 1947, was attended by a capacity crowd of 3,500, including many alumni, some of whom traveled a considerable distance to see just the third building to be completed on campus in Beloit College’s second century. (Beloit won the game over Lawrence 73-38.)
The home of the great basketball teams coached by Dolph Stanley and Bill Knapton hosted, in its 40-year prime, a large number of luminaries from the world of entertainment and other fields.
A short sampling of those who performed, spoke or appeared in the Fieldhouse include Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Richard Nixon, Jane Goodall, Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Jefferson Airplane, B.B. King, Frank Zappa, The Count Basie Orchestra, Cream with Eric Clapton, Gene Autry, Kansas, The Byrds and Ed Sullivan. In addition, The Chicago Bulls, with Michael Jordan, used the facility for pre-season practices in both 1985 and 1986.
In 1989, the Fieldhouse was re-dedicated the Matthew A. Marvin Fieldhouse in recognition of the 1937 graduate’s devotion to Beloit College.
The Sports Center, which houses the Athletic Department, Flood Arena, Kresge Natatorium, and the Fitness Center, was dedicated in February of 1987 and all sports moved into new facilities. The Fieldhouse was converted into a practice facility that is still regularly used by baseball, softball, and track and field teams as well as for intramural play.
UP AHEAD IN BUCCANEER ATHLETICS
It’s another busy week for the Buccaneers. Go to www.beloit.edu/bucs to get the entire schedule and catch up on last week’s season-opening results.